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I know we don’t know each other, but can I just say I’m super excited for you!?
YOU’RE GOING TO OKTOBERFEST!!
I’m sure it’s one of those once in a lifetime trips and you are so excited (Also, stop by our Travel in Bavaria Facebook Group and let me know when you’ll be there, I always love dropping in on Oktoberfest and meeting fellow travelers since I live just an hour away in Regensburg!)
By now, you might be in the thicket of planning an Oktoberfest trip. You’ve probably researched what the Best Oktoberfest Tents Are (and now know you don’t NEED table reservations as well as know the best times to go), and you’ve gained 10 pounds just from reading the list of All The Best Foods To Try At Oktoberfest.
You’ve probably already bought your (most likely quite expensive) flights, booked your hotels, and now, it’s finally time to figure out what to pack for Oktoberfest!!!
First, start with my complete Germany Packing List. Pretty much everything in there is going to apply to packing for Oktoberfest, but I’ll add a few more specifics here that apply directly to what to bring to Oktoberfest as well so that you are completely good to go!
You Might Also Be Interested in Reading:
- What are the best Oktoberfest tents (and do I need reservations?)
- Must Try Foods at Oktoberfest
- What to Wear to Oktoberfest
- Where to Stay Nearby Oktoberfest for Affordable Hotels
Packing For Germany in the Fall
First, you need to know that the weather in Germany in the fall is UNPREDICTABLE. Last year, we already had snow in Bavaria by early October and the entire autumn was cold, rainy, and dreary! The year before that though? It was gorgeous, 70 degree (F) days that were practically made for perfect traveling!!! My point? You have NO idea what mother nature is going to decide for this year, so pack and plan accordingly.
Note: I highly recommend only packing for 5-7 days worth of clothing, no matter the length of your trip. I love packing “Capsule Wardrobe” style clothing meaning any shirt I pack can match any bottom, meaning I actually have waaaay more than one week’s worth of “outfits” and I’ll wear pretty much everything about twice before washing (minus undergarments, which can always be washed super quick in a sink). Also, even if you have a longer trip, you can always do laundry at a laundromat or your hotel.
You Might Also Be Interested in Reading:
- Munich Itineraries:
- 30 Perfect Day Trips from Munich
- Step By Step Directions on How to get From the Munich Airport to the City Center and/or Main Train Station
- How To Get From Munich To Neuschwanstein (by train, car, or tour)
Let’s start with the generic Fall Packing List for Germany and then we’ll build on that for specifics for Oktoberfest.
No matter what, you are going to want to pack layers. This is my golden rule for any Germany Packing List, no matter the season. For autumn, I recommend:
3 Short Sleeve Tops
2 Long Sleeve Tops/ Sweater
1 Cardigan Sweater to Wear Over Tops
1 Rain Jacket
Optional: I always bring a fleece jacket when traveling
2-3 pairs of pants
- For women, I recommend 1 pair of jeans, 1 nicer trousers (even a comfy jogger trouser, like this, can be dressed up or down), 1 pair of leggings
- For men: 1 pair of nicer jeans, 1 pair of trousers
2-3 Pairs of Shoes. You’ll want at least one pair of really good walking shoes. Depending on your clothing and style, 1 more pair of shoes (like a pair of flats or heels for women) that look nicer for dinners or going out.
Consider a pair of shoes you can toss out after your day at Oktoberfest though. I cover why in the Oktoberfest Packing section below.
Obviously, don’t forget things like undergarments and what not!
5 sets of bras and underwear
7 pairs of socks (I explain why 7 and not 5 below in the Oktoberfest section!)
Loungewear/ PJs for the hotel
1 Scarf (so versatile to use for accessories, warmth, a shawl on the plane, etc!)
Travel Umbrella (Seriously, don’t come to Bavaria in the fall without one!)
220v Adapter for your electronics
Any tech you use (chargers, headphones, etc)
Shampoo, conditioner, and soap in travel bottles
Toothpaste and toothbrush
Perfume or aftershave if you so choose
Daily medicine you take
Travel Essentials and Documents
2 Credit Cards with no foreign transaction fees and 2 ATM cards. (I always bring 2 in case 1 isn’t working abroad for some reason)
Oktoberfest Packing List
While all the above is essential for packing for Germany in general, there are a few more items and things I suggest specifically if you are planning a trip to Oktoberfest. Luckily, you really don’t need to bring a lot with you for the day.
Most places at Oktoberfest won’t take cards. There are ATMs at the fairgrounds but always have at least 2 cards in case one doesn’t work for whatever reason.
You’ll need change to use the public bathrooms. Have a small, coin purse, like this to easily toss in a 50 Euro Cent piece onto the plate outside the bathrooms
I go over exactly what you should (or should not!) wear in my What To Wear To Oktoberfest Guide. But in case you are wondering, yes, you can wear Lederhosen and Dirndls and no, you won’t look like a tourist (if you follow my guide and rules on what is considered “costume-y” vs acceptable).
Don’t Forget Those Layers!!!
No matter what outfit you choose to wear, have a sweater or something that you can wear when you are outside but then take off easily when it gets hot inside the tents
Get a Lederhosen set, like this one. A good set is going to have a nice pair of wool socks, a checkered shirt, authentic leather shoes and real leather pants. Anything that is not real leather stay very very far away from because you will then be screaming, “It’s Me. Hi…I’m the (Tourist) problem, It’s Me!”
Wear a gorgeous Dirndl, like this one.
Of course, if you choose not to wear the traditional Trachten, that is absolutely ok as well. The key here is to avoid ANYTHING that screams “Beer Wench” or “Halloween Costume” Look at this beautiful dress and you can clearly see the difference between that and the majority of Dirndl Dresses on Amazon.
You can also get a stunning, custom made Dirndl from Rare Dirndls, like I did. I got so many compliments on this Dirndl that it is now my favorite in the closet (and I’ve got a few!!!) What I really like about this option is that you can have it custom made to your exact size so you know it will fit AND you’ll have it packed and ready to go in your bag so you don’t have to waste time finding a Trachten shop in Munich.
With a stunning blouse
Don’t forget a Dirndl bra
The first time I was told about a “Dirndl Bra” I was like, “A what??” But yes it is a real thing and yes, you’ll want one! I swear, I’ve never seen a woman (no matter her figure or shape) not look banging hot in a Dirndl and good bra!! There is just something about the dress and shape that has every lady looking fantastic!
If you plan on wearing a Dirndl dress, you absolutely need a pair of tights packed in your bag just in case it is cold. They are small and cheap enough to pack that if you end up not using them because it turned out to be a gorgeous day, then no big deal! I like to color coordinate with my Dirndl. When I had a nice brown and purple dress, I chose white tights. When I had a stunning blue and gold Dirndl, I wore ivory tights underneath when needed. With my black and blue Dirndl, a patterned tight, like this, looks amazing!
Clothes For Oktoberfest (If Not Wearing Trachten)
Of course, you can absolutely choose not to wear Lederhosen and Dirndl. Either way, you won’t stick out as a tourist if done correctly. In general, Germans tend to dress more on the “business casual” side in their day to day lives than what Americans are used to (you can pry my workout leggings that I wear on days I didn’t even work out out of my cold, dead hands!) So you definitely will want to dress “Smart Casual” even for Oktoberfest. What does that look like though?
- Short-Sleeve Shirt With a Sweater/Cardigan Over: It may start off cool in the morning, warm up in the afternoon, and rain somewhere in between! It might be nice and warm or even chillier outside but it will heat up inside the tents, where you’ll want to peel off some layers.
- Comfortable Pants: While I’m obviously a fan of weatherproof clothing, really anything comfortable goes at Oktoberfest. If you want to wear jeans, khaki pants, leggings….whatever! I would just avoid shorts (both for weather-wise but also, shorts just aren’t very common in Europe)
Hear me out on this. When it rains in Bavaria, it usually also means it’s cold. One Oktoberfest, we got caught in a downpour. I was so soaking wet, that no matter what I did, I couldn’t warm up because my socks were drenched, even after everything else dried out!
Alternatively, I can’t tell you how many fests around Germany I have been in that beer has been spilled on me/my feet. Ew.
I promise. Rain or not, stick an extra small pair of socks into your fanny pack and you will thank me later if you needed them!
If you are a guy wearing the shoes that go with Lederhosen, if you bought it ahead of time, try to break them in a bit (they are real leather after all!) Alternatively, just wear your most comfortable pair of shoes that goes with the jeans or trousers you are wearing for the day.
The first few Oktoberfests I went to, I went all out. I wore my gorgeous Dirndl and paired it with the perfect heels. It is the classic Dirndl look! But there is so much walking at Oktoberfest, not even taking any time to/from public transportation into consideration! My feet were killing me by the end of the day! (Plus, after a few Maß walking in heels becomes insanely difficult!)
This last year, I chose to wear sneakers with my Dirndl and didn’t regret a single second of it! I have a unique, black Dirndl, so all black sneakers paired great. Of course, an all white sneaker, like this, is very popular in Germany so you can wear it with your Dirndl and your other everyday clothes so you don’t have to pack an extra pair of shoes just for Oktoberfest. Other years I’ve worn flats but even those can get uncomfortable after a long day of walking, but it’s still a great choice if you want to look stylish.
Pro Tip: If you have space in your bag for packing, consider packing a pair of shoes that you can toss after Oktoberfest. Like I mentioned, I can’t recall the number of times beer has been spilled (and I know many people who have gotten…er….worse thrown up on them). If you plan on going all out and partying hard, maybe consider a pair of shoes that you can throw away after.
Insider Tip: If it is rainy, wear a cute pair of rain boots! Even with a Dirndl, you can make it look really cute!
Purse Or Fanny Pack (NO BACKPACKS)
You can only take bags smaller than 3 liters (that’s SMALL) in. So, no backpacks!
In my purse, I also bring my:
- Lipstick/ Chapstick
- Coin purse and wallet
- Feminine Hygiene product (even if NOT that time, I keep one with me. This year, a desperate fellow female was ever so thankful I had one stashed in the bottom of my purse!)
- Portable phone charger (use a mini charger to toss into your small purse/bag)
A Portable Charger
If you are like me, I take an ungodly amount of photos. I also use my phone for navigation as well as my train tickets (I use the DB Navigator App, or if you are just staying in Munich, you can use the MVV App as well). So, having my phone die on me is not an option. I was really thankful I brought my portable phone charger with me last year because I had to charge my phone midway through the day!
Have I been enough of a broken record yet that you never know if it will rain in the fall in Germany??? I’ve been to more Oktoberfests in the rain than the sun! Bring an umbrella!!!
Tylenol or Ibuprofin
You can only get things like Tylenol or Ibuprofin at an Apotheke (pharmacy). Just pack a bottle in your bag if you plan on going all out. Nothing sucks like a bad hangover the day after Oktoberfest when you have other places to visit in beautiful Germany, like a day trip to the Cinderella Castle!
Along the same lines as Tylenol, I know this sounds silly, but seriously, pack a few drink mixes that are electrolytes into your bag! I personally love the LMNT electrolytes (they are clean, and taste fantastic). I usually drink one before I head to a fest (or anywhere where I know I’ll be drinking) as well as one when I wake up. Pair that with one Ibuprofin and a BIG glass of water before going to sleep and I haven’t had a hangover in years!
Your Address Written Down
You would not believe the amount of people that can’t get back home or to their hotel after Oktoberfest!!! Write it down on a small piece of paper or even on a piece of tape and tape it to your phone.